A couple months ago I was given the opportunity to share some of my experiences and my testimony in a way that when completed has a possibly to have a large outreach. Before the appointed day I was confident knowing that this opportunity was something I was supposed to do and I could see the guidance Lord leading up to it. On the way home, all the doubts started creeping in. I shared some very personal things about me and my family, and all of a sudden all the worst case scenarios of how people could react started overwhelming me. I was lead to, and found great comfort in, these familiar scriptures:
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
(3 Nephi 11:14-15)
Whenever I had read these scriptures previously I had always thought about what it would be like to be physically present at that moment, to feel for myself the prints in His hands and feet, but after this experience I thought about it from Christ’s point of view. As I imagined what it would be like to have a multitude come up to me, and feel my hands and feet and thrust their hands into my side I realized what a truly personal experience He allowed each person to have. To allow a multitude to come up and physically touch my hands and side would be an uncomfortable thing for me, and yet Christ allowed each person individually to do so.
As I was pondering this, my focus shifted to the scars, why did our perfect resurrected Lord have these scars? He tells us in the above verses, so that others “did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.” His scars are not blemishes as we may mortally view them because those scars only add to the testimony of His identity. He is perfect and unblemished, scars and all, because those scars magnify the testimony of His love for us and His ability to save us.
The Holy Ghost taught me that like the prints on Christ’s hands and the wound in His side my mistakes and imperfections, healed by the atonement of Jesus Christ, are not blemishes, but they enhance my ability to testify of Christ. If I did not have them, if I did not have personal experience having my wounds healed through the atonement, my ability to testify of Christ would not be as strong. There are times that I will be asked to allow a multitude of people, sometimes even a vast multitude, to feel my scars, to thrust their hands into my side, in a very personal way, for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. (Romans 1:16) But not only that, I am not ashamed of how I learned the gospel of Christ. I am not ashamed of how I know, without a doubt, that the atonement works.
Sure, there are some who will see the spiritual scars I carry as blemishes and chances are they will be vocal in their judgement of them. The temptation to feel bad about them and to hide them can be so strong, but I have made covenants and promised to take upon myself the name of Christ. I have promised to do what is asked of me, and He asks nothing of me that He has not done Himself. His wounds healed mine. When He asks me to allow others to get up close and personal with my scars He is not asking me to focus on how I got the wounds, but how Christ healed them, and can heal yours.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.